Title: Inceptio (Roma Nova I)
Author: Alison Morton
A tidbit about the author
The author admits she’s been a Roman ‘nut’ since the age of 11. She served in the military in a special communications regiment in one of those jobs where you don’t talk about what you do, see, or hear.
New York, present day, alternate reality. Karen Brown, angry and frightened after surviving a kidnap attempt, has a harsh choice – being eliminated by government enforcer Jeffery Renschman or fleeing to mysterious Roma Nova, her dead mother’s homeland in Europe.
The scene that made you laugh out loud or cheer
There are numerous places in Inceptio to cheer for the good guys, to celebrate Carina’s successes. You won’t believe the obstacles the author has created for her main character. Get ready for a rollercoaster ride and hold on to your hat!
The place where you wanted to throw the book across the room
Lurio and Carina? Agh! I kept hoping the author was just teasing. I won’t say more because that would spoil it for you!
A memorable line (or two)
‘I’ve arranged for you to stay at my apartment.’
‘And you’ll be staying where?’
He gave me that tight-lipped, wide-eyed, exasperated look of somebody dealing with an idiot. ‘What’s the problem? It’s large enough to contain both our egos for a while. I’ll put locks on the doors if you’re worried you may be overcome with desire for my body.’
Karen/Carina’s sarcasm is a treasure. And several characters give it right back to her. Carina even tells one ‘partner’: ‘You’ll have to be patient with me if I foul up somewhere. Just say something cutting and sarcastic and I’ll get the message.’
My verdict **** 4.5 stars ****
Inceptio is a heart-pumping drama/thriller that opens with the fairly ordinary existence of Karen Brown. But as Karen’s life unfolds and we/she learns about her family’s past, the story is far from ordinary. Karen endures kidnapping, is threatened by government agents, and is nearly frozen to death by an antagonist who makes you cringe every time his name is mentioned, let alone when he is ‘on screen.’ Karen’s need to move to Roma Nova, her adaptation to a new and very foreign life there, and her transformation to Carina Mitela, a heroine/soldier with some kick-ass abilities, makes this book a page-turner. The action scenes are well done, the romance is fun, the spy capabilities are believable and I wouldn’t doubt that Morton’s former life as a soldier are the basis for much of the operational military protocols in the book.
I love the author’s world in this alternative history. The protagonist Karen/Carina is living in New York – in the EUS (Eastern United States) – when the novel opens. Morton does a great job filling in background history, only dropping in information as needed, but coloring the tale with references to “those foreign countries like Louisiane and Quebec,” the Presidential Mansion (in Washington, which was once known as Georgetown), the Western Territories, and Franklin Day. Morton makes the history she’s created perfectly believable without giving the reader a history lesson. And did I mention I want to live in Roma Nova?
Charlene Newcomb is the author of the Battle Scars series, 12th century historical fiction filled with war, political intrigue, and a knightly romance of forbidden love set during the reign of Richard the Lionheart.
Char also writes science fiction. Echoes of the Storm was published in July 2020.
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